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A sense of place at The Opposite House

31 Mar 2008 by business traveller

Just in time for the Olympic Games, The Opposite House is set to open its doors on July 1 in Beijing’s rapidly transforming Sanlitun district – the first luxury hotel of the newly formed Swire Hotels.

“The location has a certain character. It is a cultural and business melting pot. And we are keen to enhance this sense of place in our guests by imbuing our rooms with subtle touches of traditional Chinese décor, while keeping them uncluttered and contemporary with natural wooden floors, king-size beds and the most luxurious bathrooms,” said Anthony Ross, hotel general manager.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, known for his innovative retail and commercial spaces, was the unorthodox choice tapped to put a distinctive stamp on the 100-room hotel by redefining conventional boundaries and use of space.

“There are things that have never been done in a hotel before. It may not be for everybody but they will be a breath of fresh air,” Ross said. “We are hiring 360 staff for their personality. They must be spontaneous, warm and inviting, giving a service that is a little less formal, with an eye at pleasantly surprising our guests by not always looking at the playbook.”

The Opposite House will be an integral part of The Village, a swanky new open-plan shopping destination being developed by Swire Properties, parent company of Swire Hotels.

“Our vision is about building small-scale hotels of around 100 generously sized rooms that are defined by luxury that is more understated. We are not here to build cookie-cutter hotels. We are not even branding our hotels the same way. It will not be all style without substance. We are committed to underpin our property with service that is a little bit more individualised and personalised,” said Brian Williams, managing director, Swire Hotels.

The Opposite House will be followed by the opening next year of two Swire Hotels properties in Hongkong – a 117-room luxury hotel in Pacific Place and a 343-room lifestyle business hotel called East at Island East, Quarry Bay. Another 100-room hotel at Taikoo Hui in Guangzhou is expected to make its debut in 2010.

Gigi Onag

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